Haumea

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Surprise! Bizarre Dwarf Planet Haumea Has Rings (Harrison Tasoff, Space.com)

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Haumea, minor-planet designation 136108 Haumea, is a dwarf planet located beyond Neptune’s orbit. It was discovered in 2004 by a team headed by Mike Brown of Caltech at the Palomar Observatory in the United States and independently in 2005, by a team headed by José Luis Ortiz Moreno at the Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain, though the latter claim has been contested. On September 17, 2008, it was recognized as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and named after Haumea, the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth.

Haumea’s mass is about one-third that of Pluto, and 1/1400 that of Earth. Although its shape has not been directly observed, calculations from its light curve indicate that it is a Jacobi ellipsoid, with its major axis twice as long as its minor. Its gravity is thought to be sufficient for it to have relaxed into hydrostatic equilibrium, making it a dwarf planet. Haumea’s elongated shape together with its rapid rotation, high density, and high albedo (from a surface of crystalline water ice), are thought to be the consequences of a giant collision, which left Haumea the largest member of a collisional family that includes several large trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) and Haumea’s two known moons, Hiʻiaka and Namaka. — Wikipedia

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  • Odd bodies, rapid spins keep cosmic rings close
    on November 19, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Forget those shepherding moons. Gravity and the odd shapes of asteroid Chariklo and dwarf planet Haumea—small objects deep in our solar system—can be credited for forming and maintaining their own rings, according new research in Nature Astronomy. […]

  • Team makes breakthroughs studying Pluto orbiter...
    on October 24, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    A Southwest Research Institute team using internal research funds has made several discoveries that expand the range and value of a future Pluto orbiter mission. The breakthroughs define a fuel-saving orbital tour and demonstrate that an orbiter can continue exploration in the Kuiper Belt after surveying Pluto. These and other results from the study will be reported this week at a workshop on future Pluto and Kuiper Belt exploration at the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary […]

  • Haumea dwarf planet has a ring to it: study
    on October 11, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Move over Saturn! Scientists have found a ring around an unassuming mini-planet in our Solar System to debunk the theory that only giant planets can be so adorned. […]

  • Planet or dwarf planet—all worlds are worth...
    on March 20, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Pluto's status as a "dwarf planet" is once again stirring debate. This comes as some planetary scientists are trying to have Pluto reclassified as a planet – a wish that's not likely to come true. […]

  • A geophysical planet definition
    on February 22, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    In 2006, during their 26th General Assembly, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted a formal definition of the term "planet". This was done in the hopes of dispelling ambiguity over which bodies should be designated as "planets", an issue that had plagued astronomers ever since they discovered objects beyond the orbit of Neptune that were comparable in size to Pluto. […]